Sunday, September 30, 2007
Moore among inactives
The others: CB Ronyell Whitaker, TE Garrett Mills, OT Chase Johnson, WR Aundrae Allison, DT Fred Evans and DE Erasmus James. Tarvaris Jackson is the third quarterback today.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
With Green Bay QB Brett Favre needing one touchdown pass Sunday to break Dan Marino's all-time NFL record of 420, it's worth noting that all but one of his milestone TD passes have come in road wins.
The lone exception was No. 100 in a 1995 home victory over Cincinnati.
In addition to Nos. 200, 300 and 400, Favre was on the road for No. 301 (passing John Elway for third place at New England) and 343 (passing Fran Tarkenton for second at Oakland).
Quote to note: Kelly Holcomb, on being the "other" quarterback in Sunday's game: "It doesn't bother me at all. That's cool with me."
Friday, September 28, 2007
Holcomb, Taylor to start
Coach Brad Childress declined to confirm the Holcomb start but did say, "He's been taking most of the reps and Tarvaris (Jackson) is questionable so you can draw your own logical conclusions from that."
Holcomb, who passed for just 165 yards and was sacked five times in last week's 13-10 loss at Kansas City, said he feels much better heading into his second game.
"Last week was the first time I was in with those guys," he said. "The first time I've been in with the offense, with the receivers. I hadn't played with those guys at all. Most of the guys have gone through minicamps, OTAs, training camp. I wasn't here for all that. It was a little different for me last week, but it's getting better. I'm understanding how guys run routes and how you need to throw it some of them. So it is getting better, yes."
Childress said Taylor would start and split time with rookie Adrian Peterson after missing two games because of a bruised oblique muscle.
"I'm feeling real good," Taylor said. "I thought I had a good week of practice as far as how it feels, knowing I did everything. I'm just looking forward to going in and playing and just helping my team out."
Injury report: For the Vikings, Jackson (strained groin) was the only player listed as questionable.
Wide receiver Troy Williamson (hamstring) is probable and could start, Childress said, depending on the Vikings' opening package.
Safety Dwight Smith (hamstring) and fullback Tony Richardson (forearm) are probable and expected to start.
For the Packers, wide receiver Greg Jennings (hamstring) did not practice for the second straight day but is probable and expected to play.
Running back Brandon Jackson (shin) is questionable and not expected to play, with DeShawn Wynn and Ryan Grant expected to share the running-back duties.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (groin), safety Dwight Smith (hamstring), running back Chester Taylor (hip) and wide receiver Troy Williamson (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis.
Fullback Tony Richardson (forearm) participated in the full practice.
Peterson looking forward to Taylor's return
Taylor practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and his status for Sunday is uncertain, but he could take some of the offensive load off Peterson, who leads the team in rushing with 271 yards and ranks second in receptions with eight for 160 yards.
Practice update: Taylor was on the field for the start of practice and so was everyone else, including quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (groin) and wide receiver Troy Williamson (hamstring).
"You know what, I think it is overwhelming the first couple of years," Favre said. "It's hard. He's only two years into it, or a year and three games. I think from watching him he's going to be fine."
Favre said he's continuing to learn things about the Packers' offense, even in his 17th season.
"From that standpoint, it's always changing," he said, "but where you feel comfortable is with your teammates, with your surroundings, where you stand on the team. OK, now I know that I am the guy and the fans know it, the team, the media. That part of it becomes second nature. You're not always looking over your shoulder and you're not worried about this and about that. That for me kind of came somewhere in my second, halfway through my second season (in Green Bay), which was my third in the NFL."
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Foreman rips NFLPA, Upshaw
Add former Vikings running back Chuck Foreman to the long list of critics who think the NFL and NFL Players Association could and should do a much better job of providing for former players.
"I think it's shameful, personally," said Foreman, who will be inducted into the team's Ring of Honor on Sunday. "I think the history of the game and what it is today was built on those people back in the '50s, '60s and '70s and they're being ignored and it shouldn't be that way. It really is a shame."
Foreman mentioned the cases of several aging players, including former Vikings guard Brent Boyd, who are dealing with serious health issues.
The Vikings' second-leading all-time rusher also took a direct shot at the NFLPA's executive director, Gene Upshaw.
"I'm very disappointed in how Gene Upshaw has defined his importance in the matter," Foreman said. "Regardless of his stance and the players association stance, he's got to remember that we put him in there back in the '70s."
Jackson missed Sunday's 13-10 loss at Kansas City because of a strained groin muscle.
Jackson said the injury is getting better but still not 100 percent and he's just taking things day to day.
Coach Brad Childress has said Kelly Holcomb will get his second straight start if Jackson is unable to go.
Running back Chester Taylor, who has missed the last two games because of a bruised oblique muscle, also was a limited participant in practice.
So were wide receiver Troy Williamson (hamstring) and safety Dwight Smith (hamstring).
Fullback Tony Richardson (forearm) took part in the entire practice.
Jackson worked with running backs in an individual passing drill during the early open portion of practice, while Kelly Holcomb and Brooks Bollinger worked with the wide receivers.
Coach Brad Childress said he expected to have a better feel for Jackson's status for Sunday's game against Green Bay after practice.
Same for running back Chester Taylor (bruised oblique), who has been inactive for the last two games.
Wide receiver Troy Williamson (hamstring) and fullback Tony Richardson (forearm) also returned to practice after being inactive for Sunday's 13-10 loss at Kansas City.
Winfield gets his wish, sort of
"It's really kind of more in-depth than that," coach Brad Childress said. "He's going to certainly see Donald Driver by virtue of the fact that he plays his corner position and he also plays in the nickel. But if we do that, then than means he's got to follow him off the field when Driver comes off the field and I don't necessarily want that to happen."
That last part was a joke, but Winfield wasn't kidding Monday when he said he would ask the coaches to let him shadow Driver for the entire game.
Winfield wasn't in the locker room during the open media period.
In other news, Childress said he is taking a wait-and-see approach with quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (strained groin) and running back Chester Taylor (bruised oblique).
Childress said the fact that the Vikings have a bye next week won't influence any decisions on a player's availability for Sunday and that Taylor will return as the starter once he's healthy ahead of rookie Adrian Peterson.
"Just like we started at the beginning of the year," Childress said. "Chester's the starter and he'll come back and start. Just like you saw Adrian get in, it's not going to be any different than I had originally intended, but you know the best-laid plans sometimes go awry."
The Vikings are 2-5 during that stretch and 3-10 since a 4-2 start last season.
The Packers are off to their first 3-0 start since 2001, with all three wins coming against 2006 playoff teams: Philadelphia (16-13), the New York Giants (35-13) and San Diego (31-24).
Green Bay is one of five undefeated teams in the NFL and two in the NFC (Dallas).
Monday, September 24, 2007
But if he can't, there's no question about who will get the start.
"If he can't go, Kelly (Holcomb) will go," Childress said.
Holcomb made his Vikings debut in Sunday's 13-10 loss at Kansas City with Jackson sidelined by a strained groin muscle and Childress said the second-year player's status remains uncertain.
"It's still up in the air this week," Childress said. "He didn't do anything today and he's going to get in the pool tomorrow and move around and we'll see how that goes. Being in the water is a lot different than being on hard land."
Childress was more optimistic about running back Chester Taylor, who has missed the last two games because of a bruised oblique muscle.
"I'd like to think Chester can get back this week," Childress said. "He did some things pregame. I just didn't feel like he was quite there and that he could be viable. Again, it's that numbers thing. It's hard to have everybody up all at once. We'll see obviously on Wednesday when I see him take the field."
Ticket note: Sunday's game is in no danger of not selling out, but a limited number of lower-level hospitality packages are still available.
Anyone interested in purchasing those packages can call (612) 33-VIKES.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Holcomb to start
Also inactive for the Vikings are running back Chester Taylor, wide receiver Troy Williamson, fullback Tony Richardson, tight end Garrett MIlls, offensive tackle Chase Johnson, defensive tackle Fred Evans and defensive end Erasmus James.
Robert Ferguson will start in place of Williamson (hamstring) and Adrian Peterson will get his second straight start for Taylor (bruised oblique).
The Chiefs' inactives are: cornerback Rashad Barksdale, fullback Boomer Grigsby, safety Jon McGraw, linebacker Johnny Baldwin, guard Herb Taylor, wide receiver Eddie Kennison and defensive tackle James Reed.
Tyler Thigpen is the third quarterback.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Starting QB still a secret
Coach Brad Childress said he's made a decision and told his quarterbacks, but none of them are talking.
The Vikings listed Tarvaris Jackson as doubtful on today's injury report, which means it's down to Kelly Holcomb and Brooks Bollinger, with Holcomb considered a slight favorite.
Childress said he expects to tell the rest of the team Saturday before leaving for Kansas City, but the Chiefs and the rest of the world probably won't find out until shortly before kickoff Sunday.
"It's a family," Childress said. "You don't talk about your stuff on the street. We don't talk about our stuff on the street."
Both Holcomb and Bollinger said they felt they had a good week of practice but neither was about to give away Childress' secret.
In addition to Jackson (groin), fullback Tony Richardson (forearm) was listed as doubtful on the injury report.
Safeties Darren Sharper (hip) and Dwight Smith (hamstring) were listed as questionable, as were running back Chester Taylor (hip) and wide receiver Troy Williamson (hamstring).
Sharper, Smith and Taylor all said they would play.
Holcomb's the one ... maybe
But that doesn't mean he'll start Sunday's game at Kansas City.
Brooks Bollinger took the second snap and the two alternated plays during the early period that is open to the media.
Coach Brad Childress will address the media after practice and could name a starter, or not.
If nothing else, the Vikings will have to declare Jackson's status on today's injury report.
Jackson suffered a strained groin muscle in last week's 20-17 overtime loss at Detroit and isn't expected to play.
Other injured players to watch are safeties Darren Sharper (hip) and Dwight Smith (hamstring), who were in uniform and participating.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Sharper limited, Smith sits
Both were held out Wednesday, but Sharper was able to practice some today, and he seemed upbeat about playing Sunday in Kansas City.
FB Tony Richardson, RB Chester Taylor and WR Troy Williamson were limited for a second consecutive day.
Window still open for T-Jack
"I'm still keeping it open just because I watched him move around and he did better this morning," Childress said. "He did better this morning in his treatment (and) movement. He did better in our individual sections. Better than I think we thought he could do."
With Jackson out, Kelly Holcomb and Brooks Bollinger continued to split snaps in practice, but Childress hedged when asked if he would name a starter Friday.
"I'll certainly have a better feel for it tomorrow," he said. "But I'm going to hold off for 24 hours."
Safety Dwight Smith (hamstring) was the only other player who did not participate in practice.
Jackson didn't practice Wednesday because of a strained groin muscle and his status for Sunday's game at Kansas City remains uncertain.
Of the other players who missed Wednesday, safety Darren Sharper (hip) returned to practice and safety Dwight Smith (hamstring) was in uniform but did not participate in any early drills.
Doss healthy and prepared to play
Vikings S Mike Doss fully participated in practice Wednesday and said he is ready to play if needed.
That may well be the case, with both starting safeties -- Darren Sharper and Dwight Smith -- battling through injuries and missing practice Wednesday.
"You lose their leadership, and their experience. But I feel myself and Tank (Williams), we’ll be able to handle whatever adversity comes for us," Doss said. "We just want to continue to keep our defense rolling, and playing big and fast. And when those guys get healthy, those guys will be ready to roll."
As for Doss, he hasn't played since last Oct. 22, when he suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Washington Redskins. At the time, he played for the Indianapolis Colts.
"I can’t wait to get back out there," Doss said. "It’s actually almost a year, since I been in a real regular season game. I’m looking forward to that. It’s going to be a challenge, but I think it’s all going to work out for me."
Fason works out in Seattle
Fason was released by the Vikings during the preseason.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Jackson doesn't practice
Safeties Dwight Smith and Darren Sharper also did not practice, while FB Tony Richardson, RB Chester Taylor and WR Troy Williamson were all limited in practice.
For the Kansas City Chiefs, WR Eddie Kennison has already been ruled out, and OT Damion McIntosh and S Greg Wesley did not practice.
QB or not QB
Coach Brad Childress said Jackson is day-to-day and the decision on his status for Sunday will be based strictly on his physical condition.
Jackson, who suffered a strained groin muscle in the 20-17 overtime loss to the Lions, was in uniform for the start of the afternoon practice, stretched and threw a few warm-up tosses, but just watched once the team started individual drills.
The Vikings don't have to declare his game status until Friday, so Jackson likely will be listed as having limited participation on today's injury report.
Childress said backups Kelly Holcomb and Brooks Bollinger would split repetitions if Jackson couldn't practice but gave no indication who would get the start if he can't go Sunday.
Two reasons to think Jackson has a legitimate chance to play: he held his usual Wednesday press conference and participated in a conference call with the Kansas City media.
In other injury news, running back Chester Taylor (bruised oblique muscle), fullback Tony Richardson (bruised forearm) and wide receiver Troy Williamson (hamstring) were participating in practice.
Safeties Darren Sharper and Dwight Smith (both muscle soreness) were in uniform but were not participating in individual drills.
Blue gets a workout in Detroit
Former Vikings S Greg Blue got a workout in Detroit Tuesday.
Blue, a former fifth-round pick, was released in the Vikings' final cutdown.
Meanwhile, other former Vikings got workouts Tuesday:
* WR Cortez Hankton worked out in Houston.* S Dustin Fox worked out in Jacksonville.
* CB Dovonte Edwards worked out in St. Louis.
* And former TEs Richard Angulo and Jermaine Wiggins worked out in Tennessee.
Could Favre break record at the Metrodome?
Favre faces the San Diego Chargers this Sunday at Lambeau Field, and then he heads to the Metrodome. Both the Chargers and Vikings have excellent defenses, but it's not far-fetched to think Favre could throw four touchdowns in the two games.
Marino thought that record was safe, but he always figured there was one player who could break it.
“I really didn’t think anybody would get to it, but I knew that the one guy out there who could probably reach that level of 420 would be Brett Favre," Marino said. "Not only his ability as a great quarterback, but the durability he has, just the ability to play each and every week, is pretty amazing.”
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
A look at the stats
But what I find more remarkable is the fact that the Vikings' offense is ranked 22nd. That's mainly because of the 10th-ranked run offense. But the Vikings' pass offense is 25th. Based on what I've seen through the first two games, I wonder: How could there be seven teams with worse passing offenses than the Vikings' so far?
A few other interesting statistical observations:
* The Vikings are tied for second in takeaways with seven, but they are tied for third in giveaways with six. The plus-one differential is tied for eighth in the NFL.
* The Vikings average an abysmal 3.38 yards on first down, good for 29th in the NFL.
* The Vikings are fifth in receiving kickoffs, with an average start of 31.3, and No. 1 in covering kickoffs, with an average start of 20.1.
* QB Tarvaris Jackson is the 33rd-ranked passer, with a rating of 40. Just ahead of him is Chicago's Rex Grossman, at 55.1. Jackson is tied for 32nd with five interceptions and 32nd with a completion percentage of 53.6.
* RB Adrian Peterson is 12th with 169 rushing yards.
* The Vikings' leader in receiving yardage? Peterson with 112, tied for 38th.
* P Chris Kluwe is 3rd with an average of 46.7 yards per punt.
* S Darren Sharper is tied for the league lead with two interceptions.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Childress says Jackson "beat up pretty good"
Vikings coach Brad Childress said at his press conference a few moments ago that QB Tarvaris Jackson is still his starter but only if he's healthy enough. Childress said Jackson is "beat up pretty good."
Although his injury is officially a strained groin, Jackson got a beatdown in Motown Sunday.
Jackson was 17 of 33 for 166 yards, with no touchdowns and four interceptions. And although he was only sacked once, Jackson should have taken at least three more instead of trying to attempt a throw.
"The biggest thing is, you’re not going to save every play," Childress said. "Some were missed throws, and some were attempts to make a play. Just learning when to perhaps cut a loss and live to play another down, and not give the balls to the other team on a short field."
Asked if he "miscalculated" Jackson's readiness, Childress said, "I don’t think so.
"I don’t feel that way," he said. "I feel like he’s more than ready. It’s just a matter of him taking care of the football. I see him make a lot of good plays out there, and I see him get us into the right plays."
* On getting his tight ends more involved in the offense: "We talked about that. Yeah, I’d like to have them more involved in the offense. Yes I would."
* Childress lamented the 12 penalties that cost the Vikings 96 yards.
* Childress said WR Troy Williamson should be fine.
My personal highlight was when Pioneer Press columnist Bob Sansevere asked Childress why Jackson didn't go down to buy backup Brooks Bollinger more time when he strained his groin on the first play of overtime.
"I guess I’m not that deep, strategy wise," Childress replied. "You ever been kicked in the groin?"
Sansevere quickly quipped, "Who hasn’t?"
Harris vs. Henderson
There was concern about whether E.J. Henderson could handle the job as well as Harris did last season.
But Henderson has played at a high level thus far. So how do the two stack up heading into Sunday's showdown?
Here is a look at their stats:
Harris leads the Chiefs with 20 tackles, and he also has one sack and one interception.
Henderson is fifth on the Vikings with 14 tackles, and he's tied for the team lead with two sacks.
I can't speak for Harris. But Henderson has done an excellent job around the line of scrimmage. The only area of concern is his ability to cover the deep middle, a key responsibility for the Mike linebacker in a Cover 2 defense. Harris didn't hit as hard as Henderson, but he was an effective pass rusher, and, with his speed, did a nice job in coverage.
Did the Vikings keep the right guy?
Sunday, September 16, 2007
He did some work on the field earlier, but he was just announced as inactive.
Also inactive: FB Tony Richardson, S Mike Doss, TE Garrett Mills, OT Chase Johnson, DT Fred Evans and DE Erasmus James.
Kelly Holcomb is the third quarterback.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Taylor listed as questionable
"Just incremental progress," Childress said. "Sometimes those things get better as they go. He’s done everything he can to put himself in the position, so we’ll see."
Taylor, who is from Detroit, still has time to make a decision.
"I’m still taking it day by day right now," Taylor said.
FB Tony Richardson also was listed as questionable and again was limited in practice, as was S Mike Doss. FB Naufahu Tahi, listed as probable, fully participated in Friday's practice.
Meanwhile, DE Erasmus James admitted that he's "a little off" the timetable he wanted in his return from a season-ending knee injury.
"I thought I’d be back in there already," he said. "But obviously, things don't always go your way."
James, though, said trust isn't an issue with his knee.
"I think I’m already past that," he said. "Every week, (I want to) just get better and see what happens."
A) Resting him, with the plan to test him Saturday.
B) Playing it safe and not making sure he doesn't aggravate the bruised oblique more.
As for DE Erasmus James, he was going through drills with his defensive linemates.
Here we go again...
Despite the excitement of the Detroit Lions' players and coaches, they're apparently having a difficult time convincing their fans.
Mlive.com reports the Lions have been granted a 24-hour extension to sell their remaining tickets for Sunday's game against the Vikings. There are 2,000 tickets left.
If they cannot sell those tickets, the Lions game will be blacked out in Detroit and the surrounding communities.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
James, who started training camp on the physically unable to perform list, is on the active roster but still working his way back from a season-ending injury last season.
"I don't think you can put a guy out there at that high-impact position that can't weather the storm," Childress said. "We would do ourselves a disservice if, for instance, he got in and carried the ball for two plays and all of a sudden he's sitting on the sideline."
Childress added that if Taylor can play and contribute, he will, noting that there is still a lot of time before game day.
The Vikings also are proceeding cautiously with defensive end Erasmus James, who is still working his way back from knee surgery and was inactive for last week's game against Atlanta.
"I think this thing is a matter of time (and) ramping it up to where he was at when he left," Childress said. "We've said what we've said about when he comes back, he's the starter. But you have to be playing at the level that those guys are playing at right now."
Here's the rest of the injury report:
Safety Mike Doss (calf) and fullback Tony Richardson (forearm): limited participation.
Fullback Naufahu Tahi (ankle), linebacker Vinny Ciurciu (hand) and wide receiver Robert Ferguson (ankle): full participation.
"Once Erasmus is ready to go, he's out there," defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. "It won't affect what we're doing with Brian. He'll still get reps, but you want to get your best 11 on the field. And when Erasmus is healthy, he'll be one of our best 11, without question. He's a special talent and we need him."
Frazier said the Vikings are being cautious with James, who is coming off two surgeries on his left knee and was inactive for the opener.
Asked if the team could wait until after the Week 5 bye to bring James back, Frazier said: "It's a possibility. We'll see how he progresses over the next few weeks. It could happen any time. We've just got to be cautious and at the same time look for that opportunity to get him on the field."
Some other notes from the afternoon practice and morning interview sessions:
--James was the only player missing from practice.
Running back Chester Taylor (bruised oblique muscle) was in uniform but did not participate in any drills during the open portion.
--Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said the offense is still a work in progress and that he's more interested in wins than statistics.
"Do I want to put up 35 points a game? Absolutely," Bevell said. "Do we have the ability to do it? We do. There's still just little details that we're working on. The guys are working hard. They're improving each and every time that they go out in practice. It's just a matter of time before we get over the hump."
--Running back Adrian Peterson and Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson are two early candidates for NFL rookie of the year, but Peterson said he isn't looking at Sunday's game as a personal competition.
"I'm not necessarily going out to prove anything," Peterson said. "The main objective is just going out there and getting a W."
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Meanwhile, LB Vinny Ciurciu and WR Robert Ferguson fully participated.
Sidelined for the final three quarters of the opener with a bruised oblique, Taylor said he wants to return to the lineup against Detroit, especially because the Vikings play in his hometown this weekend.
"I usually treat every game the same. But it’s a little bit more, going home and having all your family there," Taylor said. " I just want to go out there and play.
"I’m just taking it day by day, come out here and do a little something, see how I feel each day I come out here."
Last year, his first with the Vikings, Taylor also missed the game in Detroit, and backup Artose Pinner topped 100 yards and scored three touchdowns.
Asked if he knew he could bruise his oblique, Taylor said, "I didn’t know that, either.
"I ain’t no doctor, so there’s a lot of stuff I don’t know about, and that’s one of them."
Peterson in blue and silver?
"We looked very hard at him, too, no question," Marinelli said of Peterson. "Wow, those two guys coming out were really special. They both are just class guys, humble, physical, tough and playmakers. I think those are two really quality young men coming out of the draft."
Peterson obviously fell to the Vikings. But there was no way Johnson would have fallen to the Vikings if the Lions had passed on him.
Regardless, the two are generally regarded as the two top candidates for NFL rookie of the year.
Forecast for Chester is pessimistic
"As it stands, I'm not quite sure about Chester," Childress said.
Childress said Taylor, who has a bruised oblique, would be limited this week, along with FB Tony Richardson. That means Mewelde Moore could be up, and Naufahu Tahi and Jeff Dugan could get more work in Detroit.
Meanwhile, WR Robert Ferguson is expected to be able to practice in full this week.
Vikings safety Tank Williams addressed the mix-up by ESPN analyst Emmitt Smith, who talked about him, when he intended to speak about former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson.
"He said he was sorry for mixing me up with Tank Johnson and we left it at that," Williams said of his conversation with Smith. "I said no problem. It's no big deal. It's not the first time it's happened.
"He was sincerely apologetic and I said I understand and I accepted," Williams said. "I don't see how it happens. I know we have the same first name, but Williams, Johnson. About 300-something pounds, 200-something pounds. Bald head, braids. But, you know, I guess it happens."
Vikings eat up salary cap space
As part of Pat Williams' contract extension, the Vikings ate up $13.2 million in salary cap space, leaving them about $5.2 million for the rest of this season.
As first reported by the website Pro Football Talk, the Vikings used the "likely to be earned incentive" to boost up the deal, although there is no expectation that Williams will be able to fulfill those incentives. As a result, they will get a credit on the 2008 salary cap.
Currently, the projection is for the cap to be around $116 million (it's $109 this season), which means the Vikings would, in reality, have $129 million in space.
So are the Vikings preparing for a splurge?
Not exactly. The Vikings have done this for the last several years.
Kitna says Vikings might have league's best D
Detroit Lions quarterback Jon Kitna has been connected to some bold statements, even if, as he suggested today, they were taken out of context.
But Kitna applauded the Vikings' defense during a teleconference today.
"You can try to spread them out," Kitna said. "That’s all well and good. But then you’re putting your offensive linemen on an island, and that presents challenges in and of itself.
"The Vikings' defense is obviously one of the best defenses in this league, if not the best, and they’re going to be a team that’s going to be tough to move the ball on all year long for everybody, and Atlanta certainly struggled."
On his 10-win goal: "I said that it would be a disappointment if we don’t win 10 games a football team. Then it became a prediction. Then last week I heard it became a guarantee. But all it is, is an expectation for us."
On his six interceptions against the Vikings last season: "Those interceptions, they came late in the game, when we were in desperate situations."
On the Lions' 10 consecutive losses to the Vikings: "I don’t know how many guys have been here that long. I know we only have 23 guys on this team that were here at the end of last year. This is a new day and age for us, and we could care less about what happened in the past. That doesn’t mean anything to us. The only thing that matters is how we handle ourselves this week."
Monday, September 10, 2007
Chester update; status unclear for Sunday
Taylor came in at 8 a.m. this morning, and he'll spend Tuesday -- the players' off day -- at Winter Park as well.
Vikings coach Brad Childress did not indicate, one way or the other, if Taylor would play. But he is a tough player, and he'll do whatever it takes to play Sunday in Detroit.
And as good as Adrian Peterson was, everyone has to remember that he's a rookie, and he's not used to playing 16 games. Peterson will play, and he'll play a lot. But the Vikings are better served with both Peterson and Taylor sharing the workload this season. The only people this should upset are those fantasy league owners who drafted Peterson high.
Otherwise, Vikings coach Brad Childress said FB Fahu Tahi is a little banged up, and that FB Tony Richardson has a forearm contusion.
And for those of you out there who were in attendance, Childress would like to thank you for your vocal support.
Vikings tops in cap space
The Vikings have a league-high $19.05 million in salary cap space, just ahead of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Where is the rest of the NFC North?
The Packers are ninth, with $12.8 million space, while the Detroit Lions are second to last with $1.68 million and the Chicago Bears are last with $647,000 in space.
The defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts have $13.32 million in space.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Peterson to return kickoffs?
Holcomb No. 3 QB, James, Moore inactive
The inactive list included a couple of surprises: defensive end Erasmus James and running back Mewelde Moore.
Also inactive for the Vikings are safety Mike Doss, wide receiver Robert Ferguson, tight end Garrett Mills, offensive tackle Chase Johnson and defensive end Jayme Mitchell.
The Falcons' inactives are: safety Chris Crocker, offensive lineman D'Anthony Batiste, defensive tackle Rod Coleman, offensive tackle Quinn Ojinnka, guard Tyson Clabo, tight end Martrez Miller and defensive end Josh Mallard.
Casey Bramlet is the No. 3 quarterback.
Friday, September 07, 2007
Falcons' Coleman out
The Atlanta Falcons suffered a significant loss Friday when defensive tackle Rod Coleman was ruled out of Sunday's regular-season opener against the Vikings after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to remove debris from his right knee.
Jonathan Babineaux will start in place of Coleman, who is expected to miss 2-4 weeks and whose 50 1/2 sacks over the last six seasons are the most of any interior defensive lineman.
More on blackout lifting
Vice president of sales and marketing Steve LaCroix said KMSP-9 purchased the final 400 tickets to avoid the blackout and that the station and the Vikings would add those tickets to the 1,100 donated to families of the victims, rescue/relief workers and those injured in the I-35W bridge collapse as part of Sunday's Heroes Day initiative.
LaCroix said less than 1,000 tickets remain for the next home game, Sept. 30 against Green Bay, and that it wasn't disappointing that the team needed an extension of the NFL deadline and help from its local broadcasting partner to get the opener on local television.
"Disappointing, I think, is not really the case as much as we wanted to make sure we sold out," he said. "It's Heroes Day. It's a big initiative for us. Home-field advantage is important and then being on TV exposes this team to the full fan base, which is important as well."
The NFL announced Thursday that it had extended the normal 72-hour deadline until 2 p.m. today.
This will be the 97th consecutive home sellout for the Vikings, including playoffs and exhibition games.
KMSP-9 will televise the game beginning at noon.
Vikings leadership council
Matt Birk, Steve Hutchinson, Ben Leber, Tony Richardson, Dwight Smith, Bobby Wade, Pat Williams and Antoine Winfield are the players on the council. They met with Childress after practice today.
Childress said Ferguson suffered the injury in the third exhibition game against Seattle and has been trying to work through it.
Everyone else is probable and expected to play.
Childress also confirmed that Artis Hicks will start at right guard but declined to name a No. 2 quarterback or his kick returners.
KMSP-9 announced on its website that it had agreed to purchase "the necessary amount of remaining tickets" to avoid the blackout and that the station and the Vikings would donate the tickets to local charities.
The team had 1,200 tickets to sell as of this morning. KMSP-9 will televise the game beginning at noon.
The game has been designated as Heroes Day by the Vikings, who had previously announced plans to donate 1,100 tickets to families of the victims, rescue/relief workers and those injured in the I-35W bridge collapse.
"This was a team effort by our fans, our local broadcast partner ... and other corporate programs," Vikings vice president of sales and marketing Steve LaCroix said in a team statement announcing the sellout. "In addition, we also have the privilege of donating tickets to our heroes who will be honored at Sunday's game. As a result of the sellout, not only will we have the home-field advantage that our loud and passionate fans provide, but we're also thrilled that Vikings fans will be able to watch the game on local television."
The NFL announced Thursday that it had extended the normal 72-hour deadline until 2 p.m. today.
This will be the 97th consecutive home sellout for the Vikings, including playoffs and exhibition games.
The Vikings will submit their final injury report later this afternoon.
Offensive tackle Marcus Johnson returned to practice after being excused Thursday.
Also, in case there was any doubt, Artis Hicks lined up at right guard with the first-team offense.
Coach Brad Childress had declined to say whether Hicks or Anthony Herrera would start Sunday.
Pat Williams signs deal
It's a wise move for the Vikings, who keep intact the strength of their team, the Williams Wall. (If the Vikings print up t-shirts, I want a cut!)
Thursday, September 06, 2007
According to Mn/DOT, as part of the I-35W/Hwy 62 Crosstown Reconstruction project, all lanes of I-35W from I-94 to Hwy 62/Crosstown and westbound Hwy 62 from Cedar Ave/Hwy 77 to Lyndale Avenue S will be closed from approximately 10:00 p.m. Friday through 5:00 a.m. Monday.
To that end, the Vikings offered the following tips:
• Arrive downtown early and enjoy tailgating with fellow Vikings fans on the Vikings official
tailgating lots adjacent to the west side of the Metrodome. Spaces cost $40 on the day of the
• Fans arriving early can also partake in pre-game festivities, including the Miller Lite Party on
the Plaza, which will open at 8:30 a.m. to accommodate early fans, the Red Bull TNT
Freestyle Motocross Demo with shows at 10:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m., and free Adrian Peterson
photo cards given out to the first 2,500 fans on the plaza. Fans are also encouraged to be in
their seats by 11:45 a.m. to watch the “Heroes Day” presentation, which will include a video
• Follow the official posted detours as they will provide the quickest alternate route into
• Carpool, use the light rail and other public transportation, whenever possible.
• Park in the warehouse district of downtown Minneapolis and ride the light rail to/from the
• Fans traveling from the south should use Hwy 100 North or Hwy 169 North to I-394 East into
Update on the ousted
* TE Richard Owens worked out for the Seattle Seahawks Thursday.
* C Kyle Cook was signed to the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad.
* G Norm Katnik had a workout with the Denver Broncos.
Bevell said quarterback Tarvaris Jackson has made great strides since the start of the offseason and that he won't call a more conservative game because the Vikings have such a young starter.
"It was a good feeling-out process in the preseason to see how we all fit together with our different areas," Bevell said. "I thought it went really well. I've said it all along, the communication was excellent."
"I don't think you ever want to call plays that way," Bevell said. "You never want to call plays not to make mistakes. You want to call your offense."
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said he and coach Brad Childress talked as far back as February about setting up a phone conversation between Jackson and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and it finally took place over the weekend.
"There's so much wisdom there from a Pro Bowl (guy) and the fact that Peyton is willing to help a young quarterback," Frazier said. "A guy who he knows is going to go through some of the same adversity that he experienced as a young quarterback. I take my hat off to him for being willing to share some of his knowledge."
Vikings get extension; have 1,700 tickets left
They now have through Friday at 2:00 pm CT.
Approximately 1,700 tickets remain and the game must be sold out by Friday afternoon to be
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Pat Williams expected to sign three-year extension Friday
"I don’t play the game for the money," Williams said. "I play because I enjoy what I do.
"I’m happy that I’ll be able to finish my career playing beside Kevin (Williams)," he said. "Me and Kevin play well next to each other."
He will play out his current deal, which expires after this season, then tack on three more years. All told, the deal is worth about $22 million, with $9.5 million in new guarantees, on top of his $2.65 million base salary for 2007.
When the contract expires, Williams said he plans to retire, regardless of the opportunities.
"I want to go out on top," he said. "I don’t want to drag it out. I want to play my final years as a Viking."
On his weekend radio revelation that New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick asked him not to claim tight end Garrett Mills on waivers: "That's a case of me being a little too colorful. ... (That) conversation should have stayed between Bill and myself. I actually parodied myself this morning in this morning's clips as somebody that talked too much."
On quarterback Tarvaris Jackson's running ability: "It's never going to be good for him to go back there and (hold the ball too long). ... But by the same token, I'm not telling him to drop back and make a play a la Randall Cunningham."
Under the NFL's new reporting system, teams don't have to designate players as doubtful, questionable, etc., until Friday, but there is no reason to believe that Henderson won't play in Sunday's regular-season opener against Atlanta.
Players who participated on a limited basis were wide receiver Bobby Wade (ankle), safety Tank Williams (calf), defensive end Darrion Scott (shoulder), linebacker Vinny Ciurciu (hand) and wide receiver Robert Ferguson (ankle).
For the Falcons, safety Chris Crocker (knee) did not practice and defensive tackle Rod Coleman (knee) participated on a limited basis.
Not certain, but possible.
"I can't say what the likelihood would be," Dan Masonson, the league's corporate communications director, said. "What I can say is there have been instances in the past when extensions have been granted to teams that have shown significant progress toward a sellout and there has been a contributing factor. In most cases, that was a holiday."
The Vikings weren't required to provide a ticket update today, but as of Tuesday afternoon, approximately 3,500 tickets remained for Sunday's regular-season opener against Atlanta.
If all aren't sold by the 72-hour deadline and no company steps forward to buy them, Masonson said the fact that Monday was a holiday could influence the NFL to grant an extension but that no decision would be made until Thursday.
Masonson said the fact that the Vikings have sold out 96 consecutive home games would not be a factor.
"I don't know that would play a part in it from a league standpoint," he said. "Teams have asked for and received extensions in the past, but those decisions were based on things like significant progress toward a sellout and a contributing factor like a holiday."
Doss sat out the exhibition finale against Dallas because of a strained calf, but Henderson hasn't missed any game or practice time due to injury.
This week's first injury report is due out later this afternoon.
"He just told me play safe but don't play scared," Jackson said. "There's a difference. You don't want to go out there and take a checkdown just to be taking a checkdown if you've got guys open down the field. … I don’t want to get in a habit of playing it safe or just trying to take care of the football and end up playing scared. I just want to go out there and execute the offense, and if it's there, take it."
Jackson said defensive coordinator and former Colts assistant coach Leslie Frazier set up the call, which took place over the weekend.
"Just a quick conversation," Jackson said. "You know, what things to look for. Just quarterback stuff, pretty much."
Roster note: The Vikings filled out their practice squad by signing linebacker Brandon Archer, a Cretin-Derham Hall graduate who was in training camp with the Colts this summer.
Petrino on Pinner
"His physicalness, his ability to run the ball downhill," Petrino said during a morning conference call. "We're looking for a back that can help us in short-yardage, goal-line situations. Someone who's more physical than the two (backs) that we have carrying the ball for us right now. I liked his explosiveness."
Asked if Pinner could play Sunday, Petrino said: "There is a chance. We're trying to get him ready. We'll just see how (quickly) he can pick everything up."
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Back to work
Coach Brad Childress did not meet with the media and players were only briefly available coming off the field.
Tight end Garrett Mills, claimed on waivers Sunday from New England, said he learned a lot in his one season with the Patriots and is looking forward to learning a new offense and getting on the field with the Vikings.
Mills had no comment on the weekend byplay involving Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Childress, who said in a radio interview that Belichick asked him to pass on Mills so New England could re-sign him to its practice squad.
"I don't really feel I need to comment on that," Mills said. "I have a lot of respect for coach Belichick and (vice president of player personnel) Scott Pioli and the whole Patriots organization. I don't know what happened, but I'm here now and that's what matters."
3,500 tickets remaining
The team announced today that approximately 3,500 tickets remain for Sunday's regular-season opener against the Atlanta Falcons.
All must be sold by noon Thursday in order for the local television blackout to be lifted.
"We're optimistic that we're moving in the right direction," Vikings vice president of sales and marketing Steve LaCroix said. "I'm not going to put a percentage on it, but I think we've gotten a positive response from our fan base in the last week."
The 3,500 figure means approximately 2,300 tickets have been sold since the team began a new advertising push last week.
As for the possibility of some company buying up the remaining tickets in order to lift the blackout, LaCroix said: "At this point, there are no guarantees of that. Certainly, as we get closer to the deadline, we'll do everything we can to maintain our home-field advantage with a sellout crowd."
The Vikings have sold out 96 consecutive home games since the 1997 season finale against the Indianapolis Colts.
Note: For what it's worth, Artis Hicks is listed as starting right guard on the unofficial depth chart contained in the Vikings' press release for this week's game.
Hicks and Anthony Herrera have been competing for that spot, but Coach Brad Childress still hasn't named a starter.
Monday, September 03, 2007
Jason Carter has Carolina on his mind
Pinner a Falcon
After the Lions cut him, Pinner signed with the Vikings and keyed a win at Ford Field with a 100-yard, multi-touchdown game.
Pinner will presumably play for the Falcons next Sunday at the Metrodome against the Vikings in the season opener.
A sign that the Vikings are improving personnel
Not too long ago, players cut by the Vikings would turn in their purple jerseys and never play another down of professional football. That their cuts are now landing elsewhere is a clear indication that the Vikings are moving in the right direction.
But the ultimate feather in the cap is the mini-drama between Vikings coach Brad Childress and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. The two clearly are on opposite ends of the NFL coaching hierarchy. But the more unproven Childress didn't budge when Belichick challenged him this weekend.
With the Vikings set to make a claim on TE Garrett Mills, Childress received a phone call from Belichick. The Patriots coach wanted to make a deal. The Vikings pass on Mills, and the Patriots would pass on LB David Herron, who Childress cut Saturday.
During an interview with WCCO radio, Childress recalled Belichick telling him, "Is there any way you don’t take our guy and we don’t take your guy?”
Childress replied: “Well, I’m really interested in your guy. We’ll have to let our guy slide.
“He didn’t really care for that,” Childress told WCCO. “He was trying to leverage. But you always find out who is honest and straightforward."
The Vikings signed Mills on Sunday.
The final question posed to Belichick during his Monday press conference was about Childress' comments. In typical fashion, though, the colorful Belichick refused to say anything remotely controversial to the media.
"I talked to a lot of people in the league over the course of the last few days," Belichick said. "That's part of the whole process of player transactions and so forth. I'm sure that all of the coaches in the league are trying to get their team ready for opening day and the regular season and I'm trying to do the same thing. That's what I do and that's what all of the other coaches do too. "
Unfortunately, the two teams don't play this season, although Belichick has gotten the better of Childress in their last couple of meetings, most recently a 31-7 throttling at the Metrodome last October.
Practice squad update
The Vikings also added S Tyler Everett, WR Joel Filani, and RB Arkee Whitlock to their practice squad on Monday.
Daniels and Whitlock originally signed with the Vikings as rookie free agents in May and were with the team during training camp. Everett entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Denver Broncos in 2006, and then spent the first 13 weeks of the season on the Chicago Bears’ practice squad before he moved up to their active roster for the final four weeks of the season. He played in three games. Filani was a 6th round pick of the Tennessee Titans.
The Vikings now have one spot left to fill.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Practice squad signings
Defensive tackle Conrad Bolston and cornerback Chad Johnson also were re-signed, leaving the team with five practice-squad openings to fill.
Guard Brian Daniels was released from the active roster to make room for tight end Garrett Mills, who was claimed on waivers from New England.
Linebacker David Herron, in turn, was claimed by the Patriots.
Thigpen to KC
In addition to the Chiefs, Turner said the Carolina Panthers expressed an interest in signing Thigpen to their practice squad, which is what the Vikings were hoping to do after releasing him Saturday.
Thigpen, a seventh-round draft choice of the Vikings, will be a member of Kansas City's active roster.
"You really can't fault Minnesota for what they did, bringing in Kelly Holcomb last week," Turner said. "We're very appreciative of the opportunity they gave Tyler. You just don't know in this business."
Also, cornerback Dovonte Edwards was claimed on waivers by the New York Giants.
Vikings claim TE
Mills was inactive for the Patriots' first nine games last season after making the team as a fourth-round draft choice out of Tulsa and was placed on injured reserve in November with hip and thigh injuries.
Visanthe Shiancoe and Jim Kleinsasser are the Vikings' Nos. 1 and 2 tight ends.
Smith expected to sign with Kansas City
Saturday, September 01, 2007
Urban showed a lot of speed and juking ability on the play, even running through punter Chris Kluwe.
Edwards moves on, look at practice squad candidates
"I had some growing pains, during (Organized Team Activities)," said Edwards, who missed the 2006 season with an arm injury. "But I thought I worked them out, and I had a strong camp. I made a strong comeback. I was definitely pleased with how I came back from the injury. I thought I did a good job."Edwards, though, doesn't expect to be unemployed very long, and he has no hard feelings about being a former Viking.
"It is a little disappointing, because I’ve grown to like a lot of people in this organization," he said. "But I definitely want to thank everyone in the organization for giving me my first opportunity, since I came in through the back door. I felt I would be here for a while. But that’s just how it is in the National Football League.
"I think the injury cost me a little bit," he said. "But everything happens for a reason. I feel maybe it’s time for me to move on."
Meanwhile, here are some players who could end up on the practice squad, if they aren't claimed by anyone else:
* QB Tyler Thigpen -- Definitely did enough to merit his seventh-round selection.
* WR Chandler Williams -- He showed some moves during camp, but he wasn't polished enough to be a contributor this season.
* S Patrick Body -- Very athletic player who was shifted from cornerback to safety.
* WR Martin Nance -- Has excellent size and hands, and he looked like a guy who could make the roster.
* WR Jason Carter -- Was a standout during the 2006 preseason, and he showed some flashes this year.
* C/ G Kyle Cook -- Versatile and did a good job at times.
* CB Chad Johnson -- Was slowed by an injury, but he shows some potential.
* TE Stephen Spach -- Shows some promise. Doesn't look uncomfortable catching the ball.
A look at the roster
Here are some thoughts:
* The Vikings may want to add a sixth receiver, perhaps one with return abilities.
* G Brian Daniels and T Chase Johnson were among the surprises. Daniels was solid throughout camp. But I thought Johnson was not as impressive. But, Johnson is massive, and he is fairly athletic. It would not shock me, though, if they upgrade with a veteran.
* DE Jayme Mitchell and DT Fred Evans got the final two spots. Mitchell beat out Khreem Smith.
* CB Ronyell Whitaker was a surprise over Dovonte Edwards. But I would attribute that to his superiority on special teams.
* It'll be interesting to see what the team does with Nick Sorensen, after his workout in the coming days.
* I think Artose Pinner was undone by the versatility of Naufahu Tahi, who showed that he can catch the ball well out of the backfield and run the ball. In fact, he probably carved himself a role as a short-yardage back.
S Greg Blue..................... #20.....Georgia ........................... 2nd Year
S Patrick Body................. #32.....Toledo ............................. 2nd Year
DT Conrad Bolston.......... #61.....Maryland ......................... Rookie
WR Jason Carter............. #11.....Texas A&M...................... 2nd Year
C/G Kyle Cook ................ #60.....Michigan State ................ Rookie
CB Dovonte Edwards...... #36.....North Carolina State........ 3rd Year
RB Ciatrick Fason ........... #35.....Florida ............................. 3rd Year
DT Howard Green........... #69.....LSU ................................. 3rd Year
LB George Hall................ #55.....Purdue............................. Rookie
WR Cortez Hankton ........ #16.....Texas Southern............... 5th Year
LB David Herron.............. #58.....Michigan State ................ Rookie
CB Chad Johnson........... #43.....Northwestern State ......... Rookie
C Norm Katnik................. #66.....USC................................. 2nd Year
T Jimmy Martin................ #73.....Virginia Tech ................... 1st Year
WR Billy McMullen .......... #12.....Virginia ............................ 5th Year
WR Martin Nance............ #15.....Miami (Ohio).................... 1st Year
TE Richard Owens.......... #45.....Louisville ......................... 4th Year
RB Artose Pinner ............ #22.....Kentucky ......................... 5th Year
DE Khreem Smith ........... #90.....Oklahoma State .............. 1st Year
TE Stephen Spach.......... #84.....Fresno State.................... 2nd Year
QB Tyler Thigpen............ #4.......Coastal Carolina.............. Rookie
WR Chandler Williams....#48....Florida International......Rookie
“These are always difficult decisions to make,” Vikings coach Brad Childress said. “These guys have put their hearts and souls into the off-season conditioning program and training
camp. We wish them all the best in the future.”
Nance, Pinner, Blue, Smith and Edwards among the cuts
With the deadline fast approaching, the Vikings have informed more players that they will be released.
Interestingly, the Viking sonly kept five receivers, which could mean that they might add another in the coming days.
Receiver Martin Nance, who had a strong training camp, Jason Carter and seventh-round pick Chandler Williams were informed that they were released.But the surprises were CB Dovonte Edwards, who had been a nickel for the Vikings before he suffered a season-ending arm injury last preseason, and RB Artose Pinner.
In addition, DE Khreem Smith got cut, along with DT Conrad Bolston. That means things look good for Fred Evans, the troubled DT who last played for the Miami Dolphins.
Also cut: S Greg Blue
* LB David Herron
* CB Chad Johnson
* QB Tyler Thigpen
Vikings interested in another safety
The website Pro Football Talk first reported the Vikings' interest, and agent Ron del Duca told the Pioneer Press this morning that Sorensen will work out Monday or Tuesday at Winter Park.
Sorensen, who started his career at Virginia Tech as a quarterback, enters his seventh season in the NFL. He was one of the Jaguars' special teams aces, which apparently is the reason the Vikings are interested.
The Vikings were shaky in coverage this preseason.
The interest in Sorensen is interesting, since they've got three players behind starters Dwight Smith and Darren Sharper. It appeared someone was going to be the odd man out, among Greg Blue, Mike Doss and Tank Williams. But does this mean that two are in trouble?
Blue was solid last season on special teams, although he isn't the surest of tacklers. Remarkably, none of these three players had a single special teams tackle during this preseason.